Is sleep really essential for health?

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What is the quality of your sleep? Do you get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night? I hope you do because new research studies have confirmed the claim that there is a direct link between sleep and health.

importance of sleep

We now live in a fast-paced, capitalist-driven world, where time is rarely enough and everyone is trying to maximize their waking hours. The amount of time allotted to sleep has continued to dwindle and it is not unusual to hear some people say that they get as little as two to three hours of sleep daily.

While there is a worldwide awareness of the importance of eating the right diet and exercising, the importance of getting adequate sleep is yet to attain that level of awareness. Many do not understand why sleep is essential for health.

What constitutes adequate sleep?

Some people need more sleep than others and this depends on a person’s age. According to the Center for Disease Control, newborn babies and infants of 0-12 months, need the most sleep of between 12 to 17 hours. Toddlers and preschoolers of 1-5 years, need between 10 to 14 hours of sleep. Children of between 6-12 years need between 9-12 hours of sleep. Teenagers of 12-18 years need between 8 to 10 hours of sleep. Adults of 18 years and over, need over 7 hours of sleep.

Below we have provided a list of reasons why sleep is essential for health

  1. Boosts immune system

During working hours, the whole body is subjected to a lot of stress. Sleeping allows the body to rest and recover from the wear and tear. At the center of this recovery process is the immune system whose function is mainly to protect the body from diseases. If you were wondering why sleep is essential for health, you now have your answer

  1. Prevents depression

Some research studies have shown that there is a link between mental health and sleep patterns. A study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry showed that people suffering from sleep disorders are more likely to have depression,

Another study which appeared in JAMA Psychiatry and which looked at suicide patterns for a period of over ten years found that lack of sleep contributed to the deaths. It’s obvious why sleep is essential for health..

  1. It can help you maintain a healthier body weight

There are conflicting research studies on the link between sleep and body weight. While many studies over the years showed some kind of link between sleep and obesity, an expert recently challenged previous studies on their failure to consider other factors like diabetes, alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, etc.

Although the link between sleep deprivation and body weight is not clear, one thing that is obvious is that lack of sleep affects the body’s ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Guarantees increased productivity

The link between sleep and productivity has long been known by entrepreneurs. A well-rested workforce is a more productive workforce. Some entrepreneurs have thus introduced short sleep periods into their work schedules to enable workers to get the maximum benefits from sleep

  1. Better concentration and cognition

Research studies have shown that sleep pattern affects not only our productivity but also our concentration and cognition. A study which appeared in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry showed a link between children’s sleep patterns and their academic performance.

  1. Protects the heart from cardiovascular diseases

The heart is one organ in our body that is responsible for pumping blood and oxygen throughout the body 24 hours a day. It is therefore under heavy pressure especially when we are working or exercising.

During sleep, the workload on the heart is greatly reduced. The more sleep you have, the more rest your heart gets. Adequate sleep has also been known to reduce our blood pressure which is one of the risk factors for heart disease. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has it that adequate sleep helps the body to regulate its blood pressure. Do you still need to ask see why sleep is essential for health?

  1. Prevents gastro intestinal diseases

Some studies have shown a link between not getting enough sleep and bowel inflammation. A study carried out by the World Journal of Gastroenterology showed that sleep deprivation can lead to gastrointestinal diseases.

Sleep deprivation has its costs. Lack of sleep can  negatively affect our health and general well-being and predispose us to many chronic disorders.

Resources: healthysleep.med.harvard.edu

US National Library of Medicine 

Read Also: If you want to sleep better at night, avoid these 7 kinds of foods

 

 

 

Written by

Julie Adeboye